YA: the difference between 9+ and teen

Dustcover of the first edition of The Hobbit, ...

Dustcover of the first edition of The Hobbit, taken from a design by the author. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was disappointed.


After what seemed an interminable length of time considering my YA fantasy ‘Kingdom Of The Nanosaurs’, my old publisher finally passed.




The reason still perplexes me but I guess rejection perplexes many authors who believe they have written something really worthwhile and publishable.


HarperCollins had asked to make some revisions to an original submission. This took months but I enjoyed it: the one consolation in this whole process is that I have never lost my love of writing.


‘Your concept is 9+ but your writing is teen.’ was the considered response and the reason for rejection. I can’t say I totally agree. The difficulty with the typical three chapter submission is that the publisher has no idea how the story pans out but, given the


Cover of "Mortal Engines"

Cover of Mortal Engines

The concept of the trilogy ‘The Kingdoms Of Time And Space’ (of which this was the first book) is almost adult SF/fantasy with a 15-year old protagonist (which HC loved, by the way).


The trilogy contains some complex ideas and concepts more akin to ‘His Dark Materials’ or ‘Mortal Engines’ rather than ‘The Hobbit’.


So it seems to me that categorising 9+ or 7-12 or 12+ is tricky. There has to be some yardstick by which to measure reading ability and suitability but it does vary tremendously. Another publisher might not take HC’s view. I doubt if there is some kind of language litmus test (except for the very young reader) that defines a concept as 9+.


It is down to personal opinion and this time it didn’t go my way.


Sour grapes? Well, yes, to degree. Writers get used to disappointment. If you can’t stand the heat get out of kitchen, as they say.


Still, it is Christmas so to all my followers, whether you buy into the story of Christmas or it is alien to you remember, goodwill, generosity and compassion come free with the human spirit.


All you have to do is find yours.



About thebookwriters

Award winning novelist, author and musician. This blog is for all book lovers (especially thrillers and YA); writers and book reviewers.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Books, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s